Last Night I Dreamt I Went to Manderley Again: Rebecca (1940)

It is time for our annual Alfred Hitchcock film!

Last night I dreamed I went to Manderly…

So one camping trip I was talking to my cousin who worked at Universal Studios about movies. She promised to send me shirt from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, as I had liked the other The Mummy movies (which she never did. Still upset about that). We then moved to my favorite director Alfred Hitchcock. She had seen his films too and asked about which was my favorite. At the time, it was The Birds, and she told me hers was Rebecca. I hadn’t seen Rebecca yet, so as soon as I could get my hands on a copy, I watched it.

It has Laurence Olivier in it who I just love, and of course is who I consider the original Mr. Darcy.

It also has Joan Fontaine in it who I had loved in The Women and did great in Suspicion. Not to mention one of the creepiest housekeepers (although she’s on par with Milly from Under Capricorn). And of course it has George Sanders, who has one of the best voices-he oozes sarcasm, sophistication, and meanness, I don’t know how else to put it. Most of you will recognize him from All About Eve and the original Shere Khan from The Jungle Book. 

So I have been struggling whether to review the movie or the book first, as both perfect for Catherine Morland. She would be all over this book and film. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to do the film as I saw it first.

I wanted this to be the first movie of Horrorfest VIII, but I couldn’t use it as this year I needed to start it off with a 1950s film. So if I can’t start it, then I will end it with this gothic film-an Alfred Hitchcock film that Catherine Morland would go ape over.

So this film has some interesting “drama” behind the scenes.

This is going to get good…

Laurence Olivier was married to Vivian Leigh at the time and really wanted her to be in the film. I’m sure most of you have heard of his high standards from My Week with MarilynHe did not like Joan Fotaine, which made her nervous and worried-something Alfred Hitchcock loved to capitalize on. Move aside Stanley Kubrick, this is the original.

The film is based on the book by Daphne du Maurier. Both producer David O. Selznick and director Alfred Hitchcock were control freaks liked to be in control of their films-and when I say control I mean every aspect. So there was some serious issues between them. Selznick barred Hitchock from all writing while he banned Selznick from set.

Fight, fight, fight!

This was also the only film by Alfred Hitchcock that won an Oscar.

ONLY ONE? That’s sad!

So this film is rrreeeeeeeaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyyy different from his other work as it starts off very slow, a romance, but then stuff gets real!

As it’s not like his other works, it’s not for everybody. All though we all know who’d be fangirling over it, that’s right-Catherine Morland.

So the film starts off bright (O’Selznick), then gets dark, gothic, foreboding woods (Hitchcock)

Oh, my favorite! Anything like that gets me excited, my Catherine Morland heart starts pumping.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly, Oh My Goodness-I love this opening with the language, it grabs you right away.

It is sucking me in!!!!!!!!

It grabs you right away-the secret, solemn, gothic, and foreboding Northanger Abbey Manderly.

So we go back in time to the south of France, a handsome man is about to jump off the cliff, but stopped by a woman. Who is this handsome man? Why he is played by Laurence Olivier.

Our heroine, who’s name is never given but played by Joan Fontaine, is a lady’s companion to an annoying woman, Edith Hopper.

The handsome man comes over and it is Maxim de Winter-Hopper treats our heroine like crap, but he is interested in her youthful beauty and kindness. Hopper tries to grill him, but he manages to move the conversation away from him.

Well-played!

Oh my goodness Mrs. Hopper, she’s AWFUL!!!!!!! Our poor heroine. Hopper dresses her down to remember her place, and to not speak to anyone above her.

It turns out that Mr. de Winter is a widower, gossip shared by Miss Hopper-he was madly in love with his wife and has been despondent ever since.

One morning our heroine was going to eat lunch alone, but Mr. de Winter spots her and invites her to his table. She is so young in spirit-clumsy, awkward, unsure, childlike.

Joan Fontaine is so cute and she has a sad back story in this. Mother died when she was young and she lived with father who died last year. Having no money and no place to live, is now a companion to a horrible women. She is just so kind and sweet and adorable-you feel so bad for her.

Maxim de Winter is handsome, charming, and he is captivated by our heroine’s honesty and naiveté. Maxim is a man who carries weariness in his soul. He takes her out where she planned to sketch.

They talk and she shares how she once went to Cornwall and saw this beautiful house on it, called Manderly. That just happens to be Maxim’s house. He talks about it and you can feel the weight if sadness coming on him.

Joan is so cute just talking on and on, Maxim takes her aback.

Going back to her room the heroine overhears her sick client talking bout Maxim de Winter. She goes on and on about how he was crazy about his beautiful wife. She drowned sailing a few years ago.

As our heroine’s boss is still sick she has free time and goes to have a tennis lesson, but gets interrupted by Maxim who takes her out. Soon everyday they are out together. Her client, Edith Van Hopper, is after Mr. de Winter, and has no clue that her companion is falling in love with him. She tries to get our heroine to stay and keep her occupied while she is sick, but…

Our heroine is so adorable-dreaming, wishing, hopeful. Youth and innocence brimming!

But it is all over too soon. After today the nurse is going and she needs her companion by her side day and night. Our heroine is despondent over this as she doesn’t want her time with Maxim to end.

Maxim is handsome and charming, but something about him isn’t quite right. There is a deep wound to him, but what?

One day they are out and our heroine wants to know why he picked her over the other women, he could have anyone-someone older, sophisticated, classy, etc. He tells her he enjoys her company, but as he says it, he says it a little harsh and our heroine becomes upset, but then he kindly tells her to call him by his first name. And later sends her flowers.

Mrs. Van Hopper receives a letter about her daughter becoming engaged and they must leave for America ASAP. But no, what about Maxim!!! Our heroine tries to reach him, but no avail. This is it. Her fairytale is over. She rushes back to her room to reach him one last time, but doesn’t get a chance. Her boss comes and it is goodbye.

She tries one more time but he’s in the shower. NOOOOO!

But our heroine wont give up. She runs up to his room as a last ditch effort. Maxim is surprised, but our heroine tells him she needed to say goodbye.

Maxim “proposes”. He basically asks her “do you prefer New York or Manderly?” Gosh, these classic English dudes need to earn better proposals.

Maxim trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

She thinks he wants a secretary. That always cracks me up. He tells her, I’m asking you to marry me. Well, you can’t blame her-your proposal sucked! A girl wants romance!

Seriously

Our heroine is so in shock she falls into a chair. She doesn’t think they should marry as she is too far beneath him. He says I guess you don’t love me, and she spills her heart out. So young, so sweet.

He asks her to pour him coffee, and that he takes it with two lumps of sugar in coffee and tea. This scene reminds me of the film The Clock. These two strangers spend the day together, marry, and then he will be shipped out the next day-and at the end she has to ask him all the little details as they realize they know zero about each other.

I love how Maxim reveals how to Mrs. Van Hopper that they are going to be married. But Mrs. Hopper is such a toad and continues to boss our heroine around, trying to keep her on “her place.” She asks to speak to our heroine alone for a few minutes, and as soon as Maxim is gone she berates our heroine and acts like she is a floozy.

Ugh! Really!

She continues to berate her that she can’t be the mistress of Manderly and she’ll fail as she is no lady. She continues going on saying things like Maxim doesn’t love her, he went crazy after his wife died, and it still looks like he is. This lady!

The two marry in a small ceremony at the courthouse and Maxim is a much different person. Lighter, happy, in love-bright and shining just as our heroine.

So cute!!

They are so cute! But Hitchcock fans all know-it won’t last..

They have their honeymoon and go to Manderly, the place from the beginning. As they head in our heroine has a shiver. All seems bright, but that shiver and the rain-are major clues that unhappiness and coldness lie ahead.

Horrifying!

They arrive and our heroine meets the household and Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) the housekeeper from Hell. She is such a creep! Our heroine is so nervous and shy and no match for Mrs. Danvers who acts as if she is the wife and our heroine is a servant.

And one is Mrs. Danvers

Maxim had them moved to the East Wing, not the West where he used to live with Rebecca. Our heroine is so nice and tries to work things out with Mrs. Danvers, but she’s a cold stone hearted woman. Ugh.

This house is so beautiful, but so empty, cold and creepy. Our heroine goes to check out the West Wing where he lived with Rebecca but it is locked and forbidden.

Whenever I watch this film it reminds me of The Tomb of Ligeia, with the creepy dead wife, handsome husband who has been all alone in a creepy house. Thinking of that also makes me think of Jane Eyre. Geez-classic English literature is full of handsome rich men with creepy first wives.

The next day our heroine meets Crawley the manager of the estates. Maxim and Crawley leave her to go about their business and casually drops that his sister and husband are coming to visit. With that news our heroine is lost and nervous as what to do-like a child almost. Like DUDE!!!!!

This is how I always imagined Cinderella or other characters that marry someone super wealthy must feel like the next day when they are like this is not at all what I’m used to. I typically am serving others how do I get used to being served?

She’s lost and confused in the house and everyone is looking down on her as she knows nothing while the first Mrs. de Winter was such a lady.

Mrs. Danvers comes to get her approval on lunches, but even though she is asking, the power is all in Mrs. Danvers. She looms over her like she could squash her.

Our heroine is in the morning room to write letters, but she has no one to write to. She looks through Rebecca’s address book and finds addresses for a marquis, a viscount, etc. Another proof of her inadequacy.

She overhears Beatrice, Maxim’s sister, talking about her. Beatrice tells it straight. She lets her know that Mrs. Danvers adored Rebecca too and will probably treat her horrid at first. Ouch, all loved Rebecca.

YEEEEES!!!!!!

At dinner the brother-in-law asks lots of questions and is disappointed as our herione doesn’t ride, doesn’t dance, doesn’t sail and isn’t at all like Rebecca. Beatrice makes her feel even more insecure about her hair, her clothes, etc.

Not at all like Rebecca at all. Not sophisticated, not elegant, not fashionable

So everyone hints about what happened to Rebecca, but no one has said the whole thing! My curiosity is going crazy!!

They go out walking with the dog and he wants to go to the cove, but Maxim doesn’t want to. That’s where her boat was held. Maxim doesn’t like to go near her boat. But our heroine follows the dog and finds a cottage with a creepy sailor. The cottage is eerie too, it causes our heroine to go into shock seeing it.

She manages to tie up the dog and tries to look for Maxim who is waiting at the top. He’s upset and angry. But why? What is he upset about?

He doesn’t want her to go in the cottage or go near it. She needs to stay away as it too is forbidden! Maxim regrets coming back to Manderly and he is right, he should have stayed far away.

Our heroine starts to cry and Maxim’s storm passes. He apologizes but it was at this moment I started to think there was more to this story. He doesn’t act like a man who loved his wife and was despondent over her death-in fact he seems angry. But not like despondent over her angry at her death.

Hmmm…

Our heroine has so many questions, but Maxim doesn’t want to talk. She helps Crawley with getting some work done and starts probing for answers. Why is the cottage going to squat? Why are Rebecca’s things in there? What happened to her?

Hmm…

Crawley answers that she went sailing and the boat capsized and she drowned. They found her body when it surfaced. Crawley is extremely upset, was he in love with her?

Our heroine apologizes but she needs to know. She needs to know what happened and who she is being constantly compared to.

Crawley tries to reassure her, but no dice. She already was a shy, insecure girl and this has made it much, much worse.

Our heroine tries to be more like Rebecca by buying a black elegant dress and putting her hair up, but Maxim laughs. Seriously! Dude!

They watch their honeymoon film and they were so cute. So happy! But they are interrupted when the Butler addresses Maxim about a household issue. A servant is accused of stealing a china figure that our heroine broke and hid. Maxim is such a man and does not read what the subtext is, and who is the real mistress of the house. He makes her tell Mrs. Danvers. She is so scared of everyone looking down on her. He thinks she should just be mistress if the house, he clearly does not get it.

One of the best scenes is when they are watching the honeymoon film in the dark and the shadows make him see almost crazed and scary-we can only see half of his face.

It reminds me of that whole thing when you only see half a face-one looks evil one looks nice.

But the lights flick on and whatever we saw on his face in the dark is gone. It is just the handsome Maxim. He starts to wonder if they should be together, if he isn’t ruining her life bringing her to Manderly and all its gothic air and soul crushing.

Our poor heroine, she thinks she is at fault, but she doesn’t know where the real trouble lies. There is a dark cloud in Maxim-dark and depressed perfectly contrasted with the bright happy self on the film.

The next day Maxim leaves for London. No you fool don’t leave her alone with Mrs Danvers the maid from hell who hates her!!!!!!!!!

She’s lonely without Maxim, but as she looks out the window she sees a light on the West Wing! But no one uses it…ghost????

Ahhh!

She starts to head over there but is interrupted when she hears Mrs. Danvers speaking to a gentleman with a amazing voice- it’s Shere Khan, I mean Mr. Jack Favell (George Sands). Mrs. Danvers is sneaking him in, why?

Hmmm

He is smarmy and sarcastic, making our heroine nervous and skittish.  Why is he here? Not for anything good.

He leaves and asks our heroine to not mention him to Maxim. As he leaves he leaves a parting shot that he was Rebecca’s favorite cousin. Why did he come? What are he and Mrs. Danvers planning?

What’s going on?

I just love these camera angles of this giant house dwarfing our heroine. She looks so small and insignificant.

So like Catherine Morland and Belle from Beauty and the Beast she can no longer resist the forbidden wing! She must go in and look at “the room.” It is still in perfect tiptop shape. No dust, nothing out of place as if she stepped away and will be back any moment to take her rightful place. Very Psycho!

 

Mrs. Danvers interrupts our heroine and is downright cold and cruel showing off how great Rebecca was, her fancy fashionable clothes, her stylish and elegant ways, Lording over our heroine making her feel like crap, like a bug to be squashed. Trying to show how Maxim will never love our heroine.

OUCH, ouch ouch. Some women physically fight, most women fight this way with words and emotions. Every time I see this the scene it is just dreadful to watch, so painful, so hurtful. It’s not like other films-but horrible how each item, each moment in the room cuts our heroine stabbing her psychologically and emotionally. Every word a poisonous arrow full of toxins. Rebecca’s ghost her-soul lives in that house tormenting our heroine.

Mrs. Danvers starts talking about the sea air and I’m totally convinced she’s trying to hypnotize our heroine to kill herself. No doubt.

Our poor heroine is having like a complete breakdown, Rs everywhere, everything Rebecca.

Going mad!

But our heroine has a little but of gumption in her. She orders Mrs. Danvers to get rid of all these things. When Mrs. Danvers questions her, she staunchly tells her I Am Mrs. de Winter–I love it! You go our heroine.

Maxim comes home and she throws herself at him so happy he is home. She wants to throw the annual costume ball to prove to everyone that she can be Mrs. de Winter.

She wants to have a stunning costume to out-Rebecca Rebecca. Mrs. Danvers suggests that she look at her family portraits. Ugh I hate this!!! Why would you trust her???? Mrs. Danvers points out a woman’s portrait and our heroine runs with it. To be honest, I always skip this part as I can’t handle her humiliation. It’s too painful.

I can’t look.

Well things go as expected, it turns out it was a portrait of Rebecca that she copied for her costume.

The night is cut short when a ship runs aground the sand. Everyone wants to help, our heroine getting changed and running out after Maxim

She searches for Maxim and finds Crawley who gives shocking news. A diver going after the ship found another one-Rebecca’s boat! Oh no, any shred of happiness will be lost with the grief that is to come. Or is there to be grief? I’m not convinced.

Hmmm?

Our heroine feels drawn to the cottage and finds Maxim hiding there. She thinks Maxim will hate her, but he’s not even thinking about the ball-it feels like years ago since the discovery of the boat.

Our heroine thinks it’s her, that any happiness of marriage is over. He tells her it is too late for them. They have lost their chance of happiness now! The thing he dreaded has happened!

What thing? Rebecca has won? What, what do you mean!!! What are you saying??!!!

Tell ME!!!!!

Maxim then reveals that he knew the boat was down there. Not only that, but knew that her body was in the boat.

The woman buried in the family crypt was not Rebecca. He identified it but knew it wasn’t Rebecca.

What??? How do you know??

Because he put her there- OMGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD

First time I watched this I was in shock. I suspected not everything was happy, sunshine rainbows between them?!! But he killed her?

Is it wrong that I still like him?

Our heroine tells her that she loves him and it doesn’t matter.  She tells him how insecure she was and how she felt every time he compared her to Rebecca and she was always wanting.

But then he drops the biggest bomb ever!!!!

He NEVER LOVEd REBECCA!!!!!!???

I’m sorry, but what????

HE HATED HER! She was beautiful and enchanting. They married-she seemed perfect and accomplished. She had breeding, brains, and beauty. But then after the wedding he discovered she neither loved him, cared about him, wasn’t moral or faithful, etc. On their honeymoon he discovered the beast he married. I know what that is like…that described my own marriage.

She played the part so well, he would look the fool to divorce her-I know how that feels too. Thank goodness I got over that. Poor guy-he should have gotten an annulment.

Rebecca got involved with many people and hurt many, bring them to her flat in London and cottage by the sea. She spent a ton of time with Favell. Those two are “just” cousins?

One night he was done and went to talk to Rebecca. She looked ill, and told him basically that she was pregnant but it wasn’t his child. They were never together and he would never have a child. Her kid with another man would inherit his home and money and grow and continue the de Winter line. She continued to pick at him and he struck her. She smiled, tripped, and fell knocking herself out. She died.

He didn’t kill her but was afraid no one would believe him and then decided to sink the boat with her body.

Soooooooo even though he shares all that I believe him and feel for him. Especially as I know exactly what that is like.

Horrifying!

Maxim is out of it-but our heroine has grown up, She takes control of the situation and supports him and encourages him.

Like I know what he did was bad but I really like him and our heroine and I want them to be together. Is that bad? He’s not really a hero.

Events go into motion and they make Maxim ID the body and question about the other one. No one is upset over it, it happens all the time where the grieving mistake especially a body that has been in the water. Unfortunately there will be another inquest-ugh.

No one thinks any foul play really happened, it is just routine.

Now that we have had this ordeal, our heroine has grown-the youth and innocence is gone- and we have a powerful character who looks to have aged in the last scene, and is in command of herself, powerful, not taking gruff or slight from any servant or person.

Our heroine goes to Maxim to try and get him to control his temper and not fly off the handle at the inquest. She knows they can overcome anything together. Aw, they are so cute together!!! Melodramatic, brooding, adoring, etc. I really like Maxim, and this couple.

They kiss in front of the fire, the flame of their love growing stronger.

So cute!!

Everything is going well at the inquest until the first thing to cause trouble is when the boatyard man inspected the boat and discovered the holes that caused the flooding were made from the inside of the boat. The death was no accident! It was suicide…or Murder!

Mr. de Winter is then to be questioned. He answers sarcastically ad angry-not making friends with the court. He gets badgered and starts losing it, when our heroine faints and stops the proceedings. She’s getting to be cunning! I like her more and more.

Wow!

They head to the car to have lunch. Aw, I love how Maxim cares for her. Ugh lunch is interrupted by Jack Favell. He and Maxim can’t stand each other and the tension is thick. He steals some of their food and tries to blackmail them.

Bad luck is never ending!

I can’t stand him (although I love his voice and how he pronounces words) Favell reveals that he received a note from Rebecca that will tip the balance from suicide to murder. He tells them he will destroy the letter and drop it all for payment.

Maxim leaves to the nearby inn, getting a private room, so they can talk business. He calls Colonel Julian, in charge of the inquest, and asks him to join them as well. He reveals the blackmailing scheme to the Colonel. They read the letter to Favell, that he and Rebecca were to meet, but the note doesn’t really tip it either way.

She mentions going to the doctor and she had an important thing to tell him. That could be bad or good news. Favell insults our heroine and Maxim gives him a great big wallop. YES!!!

The Colonel questions what is the motive for murder? If Maxim killed her? Favell calls Mrs. Danvers to reveal the motive.

She refuses as she wants to protect Rebecca’s reputation, but when she hears that Maxim might have killed her she reveals the doctor’s name. Favell insists that Rebecca was going to have his child, and that Maxim killed her over it.

What?

Favell leaves, not caring what destruction, embarrassment, hurt, or pain he causes in his path. Our heroine returns home, while maxim stays to hear the end. They go to find the Dr, Dr. Baker and question him. So was she pregnant?!!!

There was no Mrs de Winter he met with. It turns out she used an assumed name. Mr. Baker reveals that the problem for Mrs. de Winter was that she had cancer. Nothing could be done for her but death.

She LIED! No pregnancy! She did that on purpose!!!! She wanted to upset Mr. de Winter! She wanted him to kill her. She was a truly horrible person and I’m glad she is dead.

What a horrible, horrid person.

Favell calls Danvers and tells her what happened.

That’s not good.

Crawly and Maxim drive home, with Maxim speeding like a maniac. Something doesn’t feel right! Something is wrong! But what?!!!

Back at the house our heroine is waiting up for Maxim, but eventually succumbs to sleep. Mrs. Danvers skulks around like the demon she is.

That’s not good.

As they drive up they notice the sky is lit! But it is too early-OMG a FIRE!!!!! Manderly is on fire!!!!!!!

 

But our heroine?!!! What about her? She’s okay.

No need to guess who did it-Mrs. Danvers the housekeeper from Hell.

Worst housekeepers ever: Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca, Milly from Under Capricornand Nancy Oliver from Gaslight.

Anyone else I should add?

We then fade out to the embroidered pillow R burning too. Finally the demon is gone. Rebecca has been destroyed, our characters can find happiness. If you really think about it, that’s some Winchester stuff right there.

So that end another Horrorfest!!! I hope you all enjoyed it!

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!

In other news this is my 1200th post!!!

For the 1100th post, go to Carrot Oatmeal Muffins

For the 1000th post, go to Most Romantic Moment In Real Life

Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

Since the death of Jonathan Harker Count Dracula the propagator of this unspeakable evil has disappeared. He must be found and destroyed!

So typically when I begin Horrorfest I always start and end with a movie I love. As my drama teacher always said “you want to start and end hot. The middle can be a failure but you want them going in to love it, and exiting to love it.”

This year I had a really hard time choosing a film to start with. I really wanted to do something from the 1940s, like Rebecca, The Phantom of the Opera (starring Claude Raines), or The Return of the Vampire, etc- but this year the pick needs to be from the 1950s. I also really wanted to start off with a Gothic film to honor Catherine Morland.

Eventually I decided on Horror of Dracula, as the Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing films are iconic, gothic, and not the classic classic monster films-but are Classic monster films.

This was called Dracula in England, but in the US it had to be changed to the Horror of Dracula as they still showed Dracula (1931) in theaters.

The only thing it, I have ever seen it before.

In fact don’t think I’ve reviewed any Hammer films yet, I didn’t grow up watching them but the classic universal films instead. I hope this goes well!

So as the film begins the credits rolls, and as I look at them I notice in the credits Michael Gough. I feel like I saw that name recently in something I watched…

Hmm…

I know he played Mr. Bennet in  version of Pride and Prejudice, but that’s not what I’m thinking of. Then it hits me! He’s Alfred in Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin. 

Anyways, we see a crypt! As we zoom into the tomb we spot a tomb and the coffin of Dracula!

But then blood squirts on it-weird.

We then move to the diary of Jonathan Harker. It is May 3, 1885. A carriage brings Jonathan to Castle Dracula as Jonathan narrates. He is going to see Dracula as he wants to make good money to marry his fiance.

Majorly

Yes, it turns out that this is not like the original novel, but that Jonathan has come to the Castle under false pretenses. He’s there for another plan-to hunt slay Dracula.

You could say he is Harker the Vampire Slayer!

The castle seemed fine in the warm afternoon sun, normal except no birds. Now I’m not a fan of birds, you know-but even I know thats not good.

That is not good,

The house is nice but I wish it was in black and white. It’s not so creepy when you see it in color, especially all the bright red. I mean look how creepy this is:

And then Dracula is not even there to greet him! What, no awesome scene?!?

So if you have been following me for a while, you know how I feel about remakes and sequels:

And so far I’m not liking the changes.

I’m not happy

Jonathan does find a note from Dracula, after all he is a gentleman:

My Dear Harker,

I am sorry I was unable to meet you. Eat well, make yourself comfortable.

Dracula

Jonathan eats and it actually reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, the original fairytale when he is left a note by the castle owner.

As he looks around the castle he meets a beautiful woman who begs him to take her awry from here. Jonathan introduces himself as the librarian come to catalog Dracula’s books. In this Jonathan is a librarian and not solicitor/real estate agent? I know I should be upset at the change but all I can think is that I’ll be able to add another library to my list.

So the woman runs off when Dracula (Christopher Lee) comes. This portrayal of Dracula is very interesting-he seems normal, and a regular guy. He is helpful by picking up his luggage and shows him to his room, him a count! I have to admit I like his portrayal. It’s not Lugosi, but its not bad.

I mean when Lugosi entered the room, you were instantly freaked out as something was not quite right in the castle. With Lee, nothing seems off about him. He is polite, kind-the perfect employer. It is a nice way to lull you in (I mean it is Dracula, I know he’s bad).

Dracula shows Harker to his room and leaves, as he has to go out of town. Harker starts  unpacking and the first thing he puts out is a picture of Mina, aw!

Dracula return to give him a key to the library, when he spots a picture of Harker’s fiancé, Lucy?? LUCY!!!

What’s the heck?

It’s supposed to be MINA!!! Ugh

Ugh! You can’t even get the names right.

After Dracula leaves, Harker sees his room is locked and he cant get out!!!

Harker starts to write in his journal-it’s weird because obviously something is not right in this home, but you still trust Dracula as Christopher Lee plays him so open.

Hmm…

That night Harker is drowsing when something is at his door. He can see the handle twisting! When he checks it he sees that it is unlocked so he walks out and downstairs to the library. There he finds the woman who begs him to help her!

Jonathan Harker: You make it very difficult for me. After all, I’m a guest here. If I’m to help you, I must have a reason.

Woman: A reason! You ask for a reason? Is it not reason enough that he locks me up in this house, holds me against my will? You can have no idea what an evil man he is… or of the terrible things he does!

He questions her more, but she can tell him nothing. Now this is very well done. I mean, like I said in the 1931 version Dracula is creepy from the beginning. In this, Dracula has bee so open and kind so when she says he’s evil you kind of feel unsure what to believe, as what she said and what we have seem of him don’t match up. (Except for you know, he’s Dracula)

Harker promises to help her and hugs her to comfort her, when she then goes right for his neck. She bites him, but Harker is saved when Dracula storms into the room.

That is not good,

Dracula and his Vampire bride fight with each other, as she wants Jonathan and Dracula wants him to be let alone. Harker tries to help her, while Dracula throws him off choking him until he is knocked out.

Ouch

He then carries his bride off through a secret door in the library bookshelves.

The next morning Harker wakes up in his room The door is locked from the utside and he cant get out. Was it all a dream?

Hmmm

No, he has the bite marks with bright red blood on his neck. Yeah the blood doesn’t look right. I think this would have been better in black and white.

He pulls his journal out of the chest of draws (which is pretty cool, it has all these different sizes on it.) He writes that he has become a victim of Dracula and prays that he will not become one of them and that if he fails, someone with the knowledge to do what is necessary will release his soul.

He decides to do what he has set out to do. He’s on a search to find the resting place of Dracula and destroy him!

He hides his journal in a hedge and then goes looking for Dracula’s tomb. As he walks around the set, it reminds me of the Dr. Jekyll and the Werewolf film I watched last year.

Harker finds the tomb, the girl is there as well. He unrolls his package which holds a stake and mallet to put the girl out of her misery. He should have done Dracula first instead of the girl so she wouldn’t wake him up. Dumb.

Night falls and the woman’s screams awaken Dracula. The girl turns into an old lady as she is now dead. Harker turns to stake Dracula, but he is GONE!!!

Bad things happen when you don’t listen

Always do the Prince of Darkness first boy. Who mentored you??

Seriously

Wait a sec…they aren’t going to kill Harker are they? The scene fades out so I am not sure if they locked him up in the tomb, or if Dracula killed him.

Hmm…

Back in the village pub a man walks in with aristocratic features and fancy gentlemen clothes who asks about Mr. Harker. It is Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) who questions the pub owners but they claim to know nothing.

The pub owner warns Van Helsing to get out of these strange parts, but Van Helsing won’t give up. The waitress, however, takes pity on him and Harker and gives Van Helsing the Harker’s diary that was found.

Van Helsing goes up to Dracula’s castle and sees a black hearse carriage carrying off a white coffin. This is obviously Dracula taking off.

Van Helsing goes into the castle searching for Harker, but finds him nowhere. He does find his room which has ben horribly disturbed. And the picture of Lucy  (it should be MINA), is gone! Oh no-Dracula took it! That means he has some nefarious purposes!

Oh no!

Van Helsing finds the tomb and steps inside. The dead female vampire is there, and Harker!???!! He’s a  vapmire?!!!!!! vampire???!!!!!! (sorry I was in such shock I couldn’t spell)

WHATTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, but, but the story! What’s going to happen?

What’s going on?

Aww, Van Helsing picks up the stake and mallet and has to take care of his friend. That’s heartbreaking.

Van Helsing returns to tell Lucy that Harker died, but she is ill so he meets with her brother Arthur Holmwood (Michael Gough) and Mina (Melissa Stribling). Arthur doesn’t believe him-he finds everything suspicious. He is angry as they should have been told sooner.

Now this seems odd to me. Grief makes you angry, I know, but he seems to extra hate him. Van Helsing gives them the death certificate and is sent out.

Arthur’s wife tries to calm him down and they go to see Lucy. Poor Lucy! She has been ill and can’t wait for Jonathan to return. But he won’t be.

So when I was watching this I began counting off all the things they changed in this film. But I guess if they were competing with Dracula (1931) and Return of Dracula (1958), you want to do something new.

After Mina and Arthur leave, Lucy gets up. Is she faking being ill?

Nope!

Lucy goes to her window and opens the door, allowing the wind and leaves in. She then takes off her cross necklace, NOOOO don’t do that! And then waits in bed for her vampire lover.

Van Helsing is going through Harker’s diary while listening to his notes on killing vampires.This listening to his list is mostly for us-1) They can’t handle light, they can’t go out, 2) Garlic, they can’t stand it, and 3) The crucifix, the crucifix protects the human being but reveals the vampire or the vampire victim.

Van Helsing is determined to go and find & destroy Dracula!

Meanwhile, Dracul at this moment is with Lucy in her bed. He pulls up his cape and fade out.

That is not good,

Dr. Seward has been trying to help but is puzzled by why she is getting sicker. They think it is just anemia, and all I can think is too bad women wore such high collars or else they would spot the fang marks.

Mina Holmwood goes to see Van Helsing and confides her worries about Lucy. She was afflicted 10 days ago, the same time when Jonathan died…

Van Helsing goes to see Lucy, and spots the wounds on her neck right away. Mina noticed the wounds on the neck too, but thought she was stung by something.

Van Helsing tells Mina to leave the windows shut at night and to put Garlic flowers at the window and by her bed. He warns Mina to do what he says or else Lucy will die.

Lucy, however, doesn’t want them and begs the housekeepr Gerta to remove the flowers and to open the windows, and of course Gerta listens, NOOOOOO!!!

The next day Lucy is dead. Gerta admits she opened the widow and took the plants away. Arthur, however, doesn’t blame her. Instead he blames Van Helsing as he can’t stand him. But why blame Van Helsing? If anything, why not blame the doctor who was supposed to be treating them?

Van Helsing gives Arthur the diary to read so he can know the truth, and walks out.

That night the couple is grieving when a policeman comes with Tonya, Gerda’s daughter. Tonya tell Mina that Lucy was walking with her and then someone came and she took off.

That night arthur goes to the crypt and Lucy is GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gasp!

So this movie has strayed heavily from the book and I have no clue what will happen next, beside of course Dracula and Van Helsing will eventually fight.

That night Tonya goes off with Lucy, who called to her. Lucy has giant fangs, but Tonya doesn’t see them. Arthur goes looking around, confused Then spots Lucy with Tonya. I like how she glides-unearthly walking.

Lucy tries to get Arthur, but Van Helsing is there! He puts the cross on Lucy’s forehead and it burns her. She runs into the crypt, with Arthur following. Van Helsing gives Tonya his coat and the crucifix as he goes after Arthur.

Van Helsing wants to let Lucy roam free to find Dracula, but Arthur won’t have that. So Van Helsing sends Tonya home with Arthur and then when he returns Van Helsing prepares to make sure she will not walk again but rest.

Arthur: [Van Helsing prepares to stake Lucy] Is there no other way? It’s horrible.

Doctor Van Helsing: Please try and understand this is not Lucy the sister you loved. It’s only a shell possessed and corrupted by the evil of Dracula. To liberate her soul and give her peace we must destroy that shell for all time. Believe me there is no other way.

So vampires are supposed to be staled through the heart, but here he does it under her left breast.

robinhoodSheriffofnottinghamhmm

Poor Arthur hes traumatized by the screams of his sister.

So now that he does not have a bride, Dracula will be on the hunt for another.

Dracula

Arthur reads Harker’s diary and decides to join Van Helsing to stop the evil. The first thing they need to do is find Dracula. The vampire must rest in his own soil during the day. They must travel to the border to discover where the coffin was going.

ThinkingHmmwriting

Hmm…

They leave Mina alone as they travel off.  Poor Mina. I hope Dracula doesn’t come after her.

Later that evening, long after the men have left a boy comes to the l door with a message-Arthur  says to go to 49 Fredricks Street. Okay I actually am not sure what street he said and I couldn’t find it online, but that’s what it sounded to me. Uh, oh. We know it not the guys, that means it must be:

Dracula

So over at Customs on the border, Van Helsing  is arguing with the clerk, but Arthur has had enough of that and  just bribes him.

ShutUpTake MY Money

49 Fredricks Street! Oh no, the same address given to Mina! The mortician’s address! The perfect place to hide a coffin.

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Oh no!

Mina searches for Arthur, which really shouldn’t she be more suspicious? Why would her husband send her to a mortuary? Especially one that is closed? She  searches the mortuary and finds the coffin, Dracula poking out.

Dracula

Arthur and Van Helsing return home but Mina isn’t there. They find her, but she’s pale, not herself, and covering her neck! She must have been bitten too.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

The two go to the morticians but the coffin is GONE!!!!!!!!!!!

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

They return to the house unsure where he went. He could be anywhere.

Mina questions them but they tell her nothing! Jerks, maybe if you gave her the whle story she wouldn’t have been running to mortuaries and getting bit.

MeanGirls I know right!

Arthur is worried and gives her a cross to wear, but when she touches it she faints! It leaves a burn mark in her hand-she has been bit.

Arhthur is angry, but this time at himself.  He knows he should have listened to Van Helsing. They decide to leave her alone and watch for Dracula. That night they wait and watch.

That night all is quiet, so when they head indoors to check on Mina they are shocked to find her dead!

OMG gasp

What they be killing everybody! I am super into this movie and have no clue where it is going next!

Oh no, she’s still okay, they give her a blood transfusion.

You know for a Dracula movie, we don’t sped a lot of time with Dracula. It’s very different, but not in a bad way, as we focus on Ven Helsing and Dracula becomes more shadowy and unknown. He only talks to Jonathan Harker in this making it only a few lines of dialogue. Although I definitely prefer that over Dracula 2000.

I hate that movie.

After the transfusion Van Helsing makes Arthur go downstairs to get something to drink. Didn’t he just HAVE a transfusion-have Gerda fetch him some, or you go get him something. He should not be walking.

Both the men are shocked how Dracula could have gotten in, they were watching all the entrances and never spotted him. Arthur is convinced he can shape-shift, but Van Helsing assures him that is not the answer. Then what is?

Hmmm

They ask Gerda to fetch another bottle of wine, but she refuses as she doesn’t want to go down the the cellar, Mina told her not to. The answer hits Van Helsing and he goes  running down there and finds the coffin, BUT ITS EMPTY!!!! Dracla has outsmarted them, he’s awake and he’s trapped Van Helsing in!

Arthur gets Van Helsing out but they are too late as Dracula has carried Mina off!

Vn Helsing knows they have him on the run and with them having his coffin, the only Dracula can go is home to his castle they are off!

Back at the castle, Dracula digs a grave for Mina and throws her in, like she’s a doll, even though she’s still alive, Arthur and Helsing get there just in time.

This film really gets you going!

Dracula goes running up the stair followed by Helsing. But the house is vast with many nooks and crannies and secret passage ways. Sidenote: Except for the vampire trying to make you undead, this would be an awesome place to live!

Anyways, Helsing finds him and Dracula starts choking him. Helsing passes out!

And Dracula is going to bit him but, oh no Helsing faked it. The music is pumping along to bring the excitement as Helsing runs for the curtains and pulls them aside-causing the sun to come in and Dracula to turn to dust!  Dracula tries to stop him, but Van Helsing makes a crucifix out of candlesticks and stops him.

Ew, thisscene is great and crazy, like Indiana Jones.

With the vampire that turned her dead, Mina is back to normal. And the evil is dead.

or is it? I know the DVD I rented from the library has four Dracula films so he must come back. You can’t kill evil after all…

So what’d I think? I really liked it! You know me, I’m not one for you know remakes, but I enjoyed this a lot.

It strayed heavily from the book. But I guess with something that has been around a while and remade constantly you have to do something to make it surprising. I actually liked how we focused so much on Van Helsing, and I liked Michael Gough assisting as Arthur. 

I’m interested in watching the other films but I won’t be reviewing them this Horrorfest, I already have the whole month planned out.

It wouldn’t be Horrorfest without our facebook banner:

So this kicks off the beginning of Horrorfest ViII. I hope you enjoy it and the spooks, thrills, and chills that are to come.

For more Dracula adaptations, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

For more vampires, go to I’d Risk My Life to Save Yours: Earshot, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999)

For more Van Helsing, go to I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

For more Peter Cushing, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For more remakes, go to Did the Niece Poison Mrs. Harlowe?: The House of the Arrow (1953)

Or adieu in this case!

It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

It’s the end of the world

You know, I was having a hard time thinking of what movie to open with. What ’60s movie do I like?

Hmm…

Then I stupidly remembered The Birds. Of course!

It’s perfect!

This movie is one of the best Alfred Hitchcock movies ever. I simply adore this film so much. It has everything that makes up a good film. And I can just watch it over and over again.

So I don’t remember what exactly got me into Alfred Hitchcock, but I became obsessed with his films. I do know how I was introduced to The Birds. It was through Ann M. Martin, author of The Baby-Sitters Club.

Huh?

I loved the BSC books as a kid and read them all even belonging in the reading club that sent you two books a month and a little newsletter. I don’t remember if the newsletter or a book mentioned it, but I remember reading a note by Ann M. Martin about how she loved the film The Birds and because no one she knew had a VCR they could only watch it when it was on TV. Whenever it aired they would plan a sleepover and watch it with friends.

I can’t stop watching!

I became consumed with the idea of watching it, did and loved it. It was the first Alfred Hitchcock film I ever owned, me ordering it and planning on purchasing one every year on my birthday or Christmas and having the whole collection when I was an adult (did not happen sadly).

Later, a friend of mine. knowing how much I loved it, took me to Bodega Bay so I could see it in person and all the sites used in the film. It was so cool seeing everything and I later took many more trips out there. Here I am with the house that is used as a schoolhouse in the film. I blurred myself out as there are a lot of weirdos on the internet, no offense dear readers.

They also used to have a museum full of things from the movie and marketing/promotional materials, but it always had weird hours, then they closed it, then they had an awesome shop which doubled as a mini museum-but then the person died who owned it and the collection moved. Here I am with an item when they still had it.

Back in 2011, Tippi Hedren actually came out to do a promotional thing at Bodega Bay. I lived near there when I was going to school, but unfortunately I could not go and meet her as I had scheduled a trip home to be with family. However I had truly amazing and awesome friends who went out and stood in line and got her autograph my DVD. I tried to pay them back, but they would not let me know the price if it or let me do so.

I’m lucky

So while it was an amazing film done by an amazing director there is a sad twinge to the story as well. Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled her, he wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and just was plan awful to her, abusing her really. She tried to talk to the studio heads but he was such a money maker they refused to do anything. And when she refused him, he blackballed her. Too bad she wasn’t able to have justice. If you would like to know more I really recommend reading Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto

So that’s enough background, let’s move on to the review!

The film is based on a book by Daphne Du Maurier, this being the third of her works being published into a film-following Jamaica Inn and Rebecca. However, this story and her story have nothing in common besides birds attacking. And before we discuss the film, let’s watch the trailer.

So the film starts off in San Francisco where we have Melanie Daniels, Tippi Hedren, going into a bird shop to pick up her myna bird.

***little side note Alfred Hitchcock strolls on by***

****Second side note, by the way there is no music track-just bird noises****

*****And can I just say she is wearing a stunning green suit. I love it and wish I owned one just like it, although I have nowhere to wear it to.*****

Melanie notices a lot of birds in the air, thinking it odd, but moving along.

Huh?

Unfortunately her bird has not arrived yet. The shopkeeper goes to call and she waits along at the desk. In walks the gorgeous Rod Taylor, and Melanie decides the same thing. Pretending to be the shopkeeper so that she can talk to him and put the moves on him.

He wants lovebirds for his sister’s birthday. He can tell she is not a shopkeeper but is trying to embarrass her, asking her questions she has no clue to the answers. When he asks to see a love bird it escapes around the shop causing havoc. And the real shopkeeper comes out to try and catch it. He reveals to Melanie that he knows who she is and has been playing her the whole time. It turns out that she went to court over a broken glass window and he was there too. He’s a lawyer and believed she should have served time for what she did, not gone off scot-free because she is a wealthy woman with a famous father.

She’s offended, but not so that she takes down this handsome man’s license, has a friend of her father run the plate, buys him lovebirds,and tracks down the address of a Mr. Mitch Brenner.

She’s got it bad, and is slightly creepy-but I kind of understand as Rod Taylor is a dreamboat. Who wouldn’t want to run into him again.

She brings the birds to his house and plans to leave them outside with a cheeky note, but his neighbor informs him that Mitch is gone for the weekend to visit his family in Bodega Bay.

A little funny that neighbor knows so much, but hey this is the ’60s. People actually knew their neighbors.

So Melanie drives the curvy winding coast road to Bodega Bay, which I have done plenty of times, and I always thought it was weird that the birds never flap around but just move with the vehicle. They don’t act like normal birds. It has always been my theory that they are the demon seed that start the revolution against people. They are just too quiet and creepy.

This is the only video I could find. There was originally no music

She goes to the post office, which you can visit, so that she can find Mitch’s address. The postmaster shows her the way to go. When you go now everything is compeletly different, but you can still look across the water like she did.

The Tides restaurant still exists, although it has been redone as there was a fire. In fact they were allowed to use it for filming only if the main male character was named after the owner of the Tides, Mitch Brenner. So yes, that is how Rod Taylor’s character got his name.

Melanie asks for the name of Mitch’s sister, but the postmaster doesn’t know. He directs her to the school and the schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), to get the actual info. Turns out the name is Cathy.

Annie asks Melanie a few questions about her relationship to Mitch. Hmm, sounds like there is some history there.

Annie Hayworth: Did you drive up from San Francisco by the coast road?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Annie Hayworth: Nice drive.

Melanie Daniels: It’s very beautiful.

Annie Hayworth: Is that where you met Mitch?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Annie Hayworth: I guess that’s where everyone meets Mitch.

Melanie heads out into a rented boat with the birds. She sneaks up to their house in heels, not an easy feat, goes into the house and drops off the birds.

Now Tippi Hedren may be a beautiful woman but I would be extremely creeped out if someone did that to me. I mean she doesn’t even know him but tracked down not only Mitch’s home address, but boyhood address. A bit creepy and stalkerish.

Mitch, however, is besotted.

As Melanie heads back across the bay, Mitch takes his car to meet her.

******Can I stop and go on a slight sidebar here? Feel free to skip over if you wish. I just love Rod Taylor in that white sweater. I don’t know what it is but he is extra dreamy.

Drooling is over back to the movie*******

So Melanie gets dive-bombed by a gull, and pretty badly hurt and bleeding. Head wounds are the worst. Here is were I guess it starts, the first shot in the revolution.

******Side note: The man who asks Mitch what happened, is the real Mitch Brenner.*******

Back to the film. They go into the resturant where Mitch tends to her wounds. She questions him, wile he tries to get to why she came. Melanie tries to play off her stalkerish by saying it was on the way to visit Annie, the schoolteacher, but Mitch knows that its a lie, therefore confirming to us that there is something between Annie and him, or was.

Hmm…

Melanie tries to play it cool, but she can’t hide the fact she had the serious hots for him. Come on Melanie, you tracked him down-don’t try to be haughty.

Mitch’s mom Lydia comes in and is introduced to Melanie. Lydia is the original ice queen and horror future-mother-in-law. Ouch. And Jessica Tandy is a great actress, one line “Oh I see”, packed with serious weight. Let the games begin.

Ouch

Melanie is trying to head home but get tricked into coming to dinner as “she was staying the weekend” and won’t give up her lie. A girl has her pride after all.

She goes to Annie’s and wheedles staying there for the night. She tells Annie that she didn’t plan on staying long, which Annie replies she knows. That’s weighty right there, she knows as she didn’t plan on staying long either.

Melanie goes to dinner and meets cute little Cathy-friendly, cheery, adorable child. They mention that there is something wring with the chickens, They don’t like the feed…maybe because they are craving something else…like human flesh!

When Lydia calls her supplier it turns out her chickens aren’t the only ones on hunger strike. She agrees to see the farmer tomorrow to see if something is wrong with the chickens. And there is!

I love how Alfred Hitchcock plays the foreground and background against each other, both parts having things happen that go with the story, important, tension building, and just plan good.

We also found out that law and order Mitch is a defense attorney for “hoodlums and criminals”, interesting. Definitely a deep character.

Wow, there is more to him than I thought.

Cathy invites Melanie to her birthday party the next day, while in the kitchen Mitch and his mom start talking. They have a slight weird relationship as in someways his mom speaks to him as a child and in others their relationship is more spousal. Not that anything incestuous is going on, but as if that is the role that his mother put him in after his dad died.

We find out that there is a lot of interesting things in Melanie’s life. She jumps into fountains naked, tours Europe, and is always in the papers. A 1960s Sabrina van der Woodsen Debutante thats always doing something.

Mitch roots out the truth from Melanie about Annie, and starts goading her about her past misadventures, but Melanie isn’t having any of it. Good looks can only carry you so far Mitch.

Mitch Brenner: What about the letter you wrote me, is that a lie, too?

Melanie Daniels: No, I wrote the letter.

Mitch Brenner: Well what did it say?

Melanie Daniels: It said ‘Dear Mister Brenner, I think you need these lovebirds after all. They may help your personality.’

Mitch Brenner: But you tore it up?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Mitch Brenner: Why?

Melanie Daniels: Because it seemed stupid and foolish.

Mitch Brenner: Like jumping into a fountain in Rome?

Melanie Daniels: I told you what happened!

Mitch Brenner: You don’t expect me to believe that, do you?

Melanie Daniels: Oh, I don’t give a d*** what you believe!

Mitch Brenner: I’d still like to see you.

Melanie Daniels: Why?

Mitch Brenner: I think it might be fun.

Melanie Daniels: Well it might have been good enough in Rome, but it’s not good enough now.

Mitch Brenner: It is for me.

Melanie Daniels: Well not for me!

Mitch Brenner: What do you want?

Melanie Daniels: I thought you knew! I want to go through life jumping into fountains naked, good night!

We see the creepy birds watching from phone lines, congregating at the barn-waiting for the call to strike.

Not gulls but you understand the feeling.

Back at the house Annie and Melanie have brandy and Annie tells her her story and what happened. She met Mitch in college and fell in love, followed him here but Lydia got in the way. She kept them apart. She doesn’t want a daughter-in-law, she just wants her children. Annie didn’t want to lose him and stayed out here.

Then Mitch calls his ex-girlfriend for his new one. Ouch!

Poor girl

Melanie is apologized to and invited to the birthday party agreeing to come.

Both Annie and Melanie are surprised when a bird crashes into their door.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

At the party Mitch takes Melanie off to the side with alcohol. She wants to head home as she has work. On Mondays and Wednesdays she works at the airport, on Tuesdays she takes classes, on Thursdays she has her club and lunches supporting a child through school, etc. Normal society things. Appears there is more depth to this party girl. Hmm…I wonder if the creators of Gossip Girl have ever watched this.

Hmm…

Mitch makes a joke about a mother’s care ad it turns out she has serious mother issues. Her mother abandoned them at age 11. A theme of mother’s issues is nothing new to Alfred Hitchcock as he himself had a ton and used the theme in many films, the most famous being Psycho.

At the party they are playing a game when the gulls show up and start attacking all the kids. Dive bombing and scratching. They try to help shoo them away and get everyone into the house.

Mitch is worried for Melanie ands invites her to stay the night there to be safe. And seriously, I think it is the love birds. Even with the cloth over them that should put them to bed as it is “night” they still squabble like crazy stopping only, when Cathy remarks on them. And just after, tons of sparrows come down the chimney attacking them. All cower in fear while Mitch tries to fight them off. Melanie moves Lydia and Cathy out of the room, to safety. After the attack and birds are gone they call the police, but there is nothing they can do about it.

The next morning, Lydia takes Cathy to school and then heads out to question the farmer about the chickens being sick. Lydia goes in looking for him and instead sees broken teacups, just like how hers were destroyed by the bird attack. The rooms are quiet and face the same destruction as hers and then she sees it!

Him, the dead birds, his eyes!

So freaky the first time I saw it. Oh, and still remains a scene that terrifies most.

Traumatizing children for all time.

Lydia races home and leans on Mitch, telling him what happened. Mitch heads over to the police that are called when he and Melanie have some very tender intimate moments. Relationships speed up when danger mars your every moment.

Lydia is worried over Cathy, with the large windows at school and the broken ones at the dead body looming in her mind. We see another side of Lydia as well, more vulnerable, worried-maybe Mitch comes home not just to help his mom but because without his aid they would loose the land. Hmm…thats one thing I love about this film, on the surface it is one thing but there are many sides to all these characters.

Lydia asks Melanie to pick up Cathy as she is very worried about her and Melanie heads out right away. Melanie goes to the school, but decides to wait a bit until recess. The kids are singing and she stays outside when we have this amazing scene.

Melanie runs in and warns Annie about the jungle gym. Annie tells them they are conducting a fire drill as not to scare them and directs them to run to different places. Of course the birds attack. Poor kids.

Melanie ends up in the diner calling her newspaper mogul father and telling him the story of what happened, All listening to every word she is telling her father.

We are introduced to Mrs. Bundy (BUNDY AHH) who is an ornithologist and for the birds, Giving us some serious information on the birds.

Traveling Salesman: Gulls are scavengers, anyway. Most birds are. Get yourselves guns and wipe them off the face of the earth!

Mrs. Bundy: That would hardly be possible.

Deke Carter: Why not, Mrs. Bundy?

Mrs. Bundy: Because there are 8,650 species of birds in the world today, Mr. Carter. It is estimated that 5,750,000,000 birds live in the United States alone. The five continents of the world…

Traveling Salesman: Kill ’em all. Get rid of the messy animals.

Mrs. Bundy:…probably contain more than 100,000,000,000 birds!

We get a bit of debate as a Captain interjects that he also hates birds and wishes they were all gone, them having attacked one of his ship captains. Melanie states that the birds are killers after the kids. Everyone keeps talking down to Melanie as she tries to tell them that it wasn’t just a few but a ton and a series of different kinds.

Mitch shows up asking for Kathy, who is at Annies. Just as they argue the birds attack again. Mitch tells Melanie to stay behind as they take out a guy pumping gas causing it to flow over the ground. An unsuspecting smoker sets it off and boom.

This causes a big sign that the other birds can see and they all come in swarming. The pyre’s have been lit.

I’m in shock

All go out of the restaurant (Why? Don’t know) and we have the famous telephone scene.

They actually have a telephone booth and Tippi Hedren mannequin at one of the shops there and you can get a picture with it.

Mitch gets her out and they head back to the restaurant. Hiding with others. Mrs. Bundy, I notice you are quiet. Not talking down at her anymore are you?

One of them is hysterical, blaming Melanie. In a way I believe she is right. Although it isn’t Melanie, but those love birds.

Mitch and Melanie run to the schoolhouse to get Cathy finding Annie’s dead body.

Cathy is safely inside, but utterly traumatized. Mitch carries Annie inside and covers her with his coat. Then the three speed off to the Brenner house.

At the Brenner home, Mitch patches up the openings, prepping the house for an attack. He notices that there appears to be a pattern. They attack, disburse, regroup, attack again. Why?

Hmm…

Melanie tries to contact her father but the lines are cut. The birds isolating them and making it unable for them to reach anyone or get even local radio.

Lydia starts to freak out wanting answers, the tension exploding. All are succumbing to it.

Cathy wants the love birds with her, NOOOO nor those evil things. Even now they are probably plotting.

Now they wait, trapped. Kathy gets so anxious she makes herself sick. Then they wait again. Hearing them, being taunted by them.

I’m crazy

We have the first attack of gulls breaking windows and trying to peck through the door. Mitch being the one to take action and stop them. Then Melanie goes up to the attic.

Poor Melanie. they tend to her, but she is banged up. This scene was horrible to film. Seven days of birds being thrown at her, again and again.

Mitch uses this time of quiet to plan an escape. Melanie needs a hospital, so he and Cathy start getting things ready, not knowing what will face in the outside world or if they will be able to ever come back.

I like how Hitchcock ends the film with us not knowing if they make it out okay. We never know if everything will go back to normal. What or who caused this? I think it makes the film stronger and gives you the opportunity to create your own theory from each of his clues.  If they had given us an answer, it probably would have been lame no matter what was chosen, we would have found faults. Sometimes it is better just not knowing.

So there we go,  believe my theory or create your own. Either way watch the film.

This film changed how I look at birds. I never liked them before and hated them ever since. I’ll never look at another the same way again. Especially when they get in large groups or swarm overhead.

Not gulls but you understand the feeling.

After I showed this film to some friends who had never seen it, a few days later we were shopping at a store. As we are leaving, my one friend looks behind us at the store and goes ashen. She freaks out and tells us to run. As we are I look back and see a ton lined up on the store watching, then deciding to take off. We all ran as fast as we could to the car struggling in, and  speeding home. Nothing happened, but a film like this just sticks to you.

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So this kicks off the beginning of Horrorfest VII. I hope you enjoy it and the spooks. thrills, and chills that are to come.

For more on The Birds, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

For more Alfred Hitchcock films, go to You’re a Detective, Let Me Give You a Tip. Don’t Wave Important Evidence in a Telephone Booth. They Have Glass Windows: Blackmail (1929)

For more Daphne de Maurier, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

They’re Coming for Me Now…And Then They’ll Come for You: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

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The ghosts are moving tonight, restless… hungry…In just a moment I’ll show you the only really haunted house in the world.

I have been trying to review this film since the first Horrorfest, but something always seems to gum up the works. This is one of my all time favorite horror films and my favorite Vincent Price film.

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Years ago I was at a yard sale, where I found this film, along with: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Wolf Man (1941), The Stepford Wives (1975), Rebecca (1940), The Phantom of the Opera (1943), North by Northwest (1959), Family Plot (1976), Lifeboat (1944), The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Notorious (1946), and The Night of the Hunter (1955).  

I had never heard of this film, but if it has Vincent Price you know I’m all over it.

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Then I watched it and saw it is one of the best horror films ever made, with everything you could want:

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So do you dare continue on?

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So the film starts off with the scariest opening I have ever seen. All we have is a black screen and screaming from men and women.

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Can you imagine hearing that full volume in a darken theater?

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I can imagine people were freaking out.

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We then are met by Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr.) who warns us about the house and how we should stay away:

Watson Pritchard:The ghosts are moving tonight, restless… hungry. May I introduce myself? I’m Watson Pritchard. In just a moment I’ll show you the only really haunted house in the world. Since it was built a century ago, seven people, including my brother, have been murdered in it. Since then, I’ve owned the house. I only spent one night then and when they found me in the morning, I… I was almost dead.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We then cut to wealthy businessman Fredrick Loren (Vincent Price). He has rented the House on Haunted Hill for a party,

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inviting five people to attend and promising them each $10,000 if they stay the whole night.

As soon as they pull up to the house, strange things begin happening. A chandelier almost kills a guest when it falls,

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And another guest gets knocked unconscious,

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And it doesn’t stop there. It turns out that all is not happy with the Loren life. Fredrick is angry with his wife as he believes her to be a gold digger and trying to murder him.

Frederick Loren: Do you remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?

Annabelle Loren: [laughs] Something you ate, the doctor said.

Frederick Loren: Yes, arsenic on the rocks…[grabs AnnabelleAnnabelle, you’d do it again if you thought you’d get away with it, wouldn’t you?

But Annabelle (Carole Ohmart) says that he is a jealous, crazy psychopath who has already killed three wives and is going to add her to his dead list.

Annabelle Loren: My husband is sometimes insane with jealousy. Nothing matters to him!

Lance Schroeder: Would he hurt you?

Annabelle Loren: He would kill me if he could…You know, of course, that I’m his fourth wife. The first simply disappeared; the other two died…All his doctors said heart attacks. Two girls in their 20s. Lance… I don’t want to join them.

Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? And which is a killer?

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We are given the history of the house with its gruesome murders, from beheadings to being thrown in acid.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

They are locked in with no way out, one guest is nearly strangled to death, one having a nervous breakdown, and one murdered!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Which one is the killer? Or is it a ghost?

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Watch it yourself to find out. I will not ruin the ending of this masterpiece.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to That’s What We’re Trying to Find out! We’re Trying to Find Out Who Killed Him, and Where, and With What!: Clue (1985)

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For more Vincent Price, go to No Mere Mortal Can Resist the Evil of the Thriller: Thriller (1983)

For more ghosts, go to Night on Bald Mountain: Fantasia (1940)

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So everyone:

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

By the time this posts, I know Horrorfest won’t be finished, so you know what I’ll be doing tonight; but whatever you do I hope you have fun, get candy, and stay safe!

Remember:

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Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

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Dracula. Dracula: not myth, nor ravings of a mad Irish novelist, oh no. He’s real, I assure you.

A long time ago, AMC used to do Fear Fridays. Every friday night at 8 they would show a horror film, and not stop until early Saturday morning. But then they pushed it back to 9, then 10, then 11, then 12, then 1 am, then 2 am; still calling it Fear Friday although it was actually Saturday morning. And then they just stopped doing it, which deeply saddened me as I saw many a good, creepy film those Friday nights.

Why did it end?

Why did it end?

This however, wasn’t one of those good movies.

Hate YOu

My sister and I saw this on one of those Friday nights and I hated this film. I thought it was dumb, stupid, boring, made no sense and couldn’t hold a candle to Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931). And I vowed to never see it ever again.

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Last week, my friend and I were having a horror film marathon. We saw Once Bitten and then were in the mood for a more serious film. She was going through the list and wanted to see Dracula 2000 as she has never seen it before. I was like

No thank youhowaboutno

She then asked me what the film was about, if I could give her a summary, and I tried to tell her…

Uhhhhhhh

Uhhhhhhh

But I couldn’t remember. The only thing I could think of was that it had Johnny Lee Miller (who played Mr. Knightley in Emma (2009) and Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park (1999) as the regular person thrust in the adventure (the only character I liked); Gerald Butler as Dracula (the reason I watched it the first time) but he was so young that it didn’t even look like him and I hated his character; a weird scene in the record store; and that I hated it. Why did I hate it, I couldn’t remember. The movie must have been so horrible I just wiped it from my memory banks.

Where

Since I couldn’t remember it, and thought maybe I was too harsh a judge, we decided to watch it and see if it was different this go round.

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I HATED IT!

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I thought it was horrible and stupid. So you know what that means! A countdown!!! Yes, let’s go over everything I liked (barely anything) to everything I hated (practically everything!)

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Synopsis:

The film is supposed to be Dracula set in modern times rather than 1831, so the year is 2000. In London, Matthew Van Helsing (Abraham’s descendent) has an antique store in which he is training Simon (Johnny Lee Miller). That night everyone but Matthew goes home, and unbeknownst to him his secretary Solina is part of a ring of thieves that breaks into his vault. They find nothing in there but crosses and a coffin, taking it as it must be valuable.

But something terrible lurks inside.

But something terrible lurks inside.

When Matthew discovers the theft, he goes after them, leaving Simon to watch over the business. However, Simon is worried about his mentor and follows him instead.

The thieves open the coffin and reveal that it is Dracula (Gerald Butler) who turns them all into vampires.

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them. Van Helsing: Doing them? Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: "Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!" Van Helsing: What did he want you to do? Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly]

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them.
Van Helsing: Doing them?
Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!”
Van Helsing: What did he want you to do?
Renfield: That which has already been done!
[giggles sinisterly]

He then heads to New Orleans, LA. There lives Mary Heller, a devout Catholic, who has had strange dreams/visions her whole life but they seem worse now than ever before. She keeps seeing this man, unsure of who he is, but us viewers know him as Dracula.

Dracula

Simon and Matthew team up and try to destroy the new vampires, Simon originally shocked but after being attacked admits they are real. Matthew then reveals his secret, he is really Abraham Van Helsing, the Van Helsing.

Count Dracula: Van Helsing. [Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula] Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country. Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy. Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived. Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina's soul if not her life. Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night. Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart. Count Dracula: Come here. [Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing] Count Dracula: Come here...Your will is strong, Van Helsing. [Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him] Count Dracula: More wolfbane? Van Helsing: More effective than wolfbane, Count. Count Dracula: Indeed. [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

[Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

When he discovered nothing worked to kill Dracula, he imprisoned him in a coffin and took his blood to keep him young as he continued to try to find a way to destroy him. He was married and they had a daughter Mary, and in her blood is Dracula’s blood. When he told his wife the whole story, she left him and took his daughter to America.

And run fast

Dracula has lost his male vampires, but has three wives: Solina, the secretary; Valerie, a news reporter; and Lucy, Mary’s best friend. Simon and Helsing split up to look for Mary, Helsing being killed by Dracula and the wives at Mary’s house. Simon finds Mary and they escape, only for Mary to be captured later. Simon tries to help her; but is no match for all the vampires.

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Before Dracula turns Mary into a vampire, he reveals that he is Judas Iscariot and that is why he hates silver and crosses. He tried to hang himself, but the “rope broke” and God turned him into a vampire.

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I know. He turns Mary into a vampire, but I guess her already vampire blood counteracts it as she is not his slave.

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She saves Simon, kills Dracula, and decides to continue the family business (although if she killed Dracula it is over) turning into a female Blade, kinda-sorta.

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So What Was Good?

There was only one thing I liked in this entire film, and that was Johnny Lee Miller’s character, Simon.

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Simon was extremely likable because he was just a regular person thrown into this situation and trying to make sense of it. All his reactions are spot on to when he thinks people are crazy to finally becoming a butt-kicking vampire hunter. He is kind, compassionate, caring, intelligent, and extremely witty.

Marcus: [Simon produces a cross] Sorry sport. I’m an atheist.

Simon Sheppard: [a dagger pops out of the cross’ base] God loves you anyway.

The other thing I like about him was how he represented the everyman or everywoman. Here is a guy who has read old inscriptions, heard stories, studied antique weaponry, etc; but studying and hearing it is much different than having to use it, have the myths be real, and be expected to hunt down vampires. He tries his best as he discovers this new reality, and even though he makes mistakes, all is forgiven as he is us, the viewer, in a sense. I thought he was fun and the best thought out thing in the film.

I like it!

I like it!

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So What Was Bad?

Everything else. Seriously, I mean it. The rest of the film was absolutely horrid.

1) Too Many Stars

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Like Scre4m it is hard to focus on a plot of a film when you are being hit right and left with people who are really famous. In every scene it felt more like a game of “Which Star Will Pop Up Next” rather than watching a film about Dracula. I mean we have Shane West, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Lee Miller, Omar Epps, Nathan Fillion, Vitamin C, etc. When casting you really have to be careful and not have too many recognizable people, or else your audience will be going bug-eyed.

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2) For a Dracula film there isn’t a lot of Dracula in it.

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Dracula is supposed to be about Dracula; but Dracula actually has a small role in this film. And unlike previous films, Dracula wasn’t even played by a big star with top billing; instead they choose Gerald Butler who had very little on his acting resume at the time this film was made. To me that is incredibly strange as he is the main character, THE TITLE CHARACTER. He should be the star, the biggest personality. Instead Dracula has very little dialogue and spends most of his time just creepily staring at people.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

I didn’t like that, not one bit. As much as I disliked Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I did a lot, at least that one knew what to focus on, DRACULA! It was a weird decision made by the writers, and a bad one.

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3) Mary, Mary Quite Boring

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

Mary was so boring! I mean it what a yawnfest. All she did was cower, snivel, and act as if she was going to have a breakdown. Her character was bland and completely underdeveloped other than “good”, “Catholic”, and “British”. Now don’t get me wrong, the breakdown character can work but only in films where it is about psychological damage, like Rebecca, Gaslight or Under Capricorn, not a monster movie. In this type of film that kind of behavior is boring!

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4) Taking Blood to Live Longer, Yet He Doesn’t Become a Vampire

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In the book Dracula, the way to have someone become a vampire is to give them vampire blood. In this film Van Helsing keeps transfusing vampire blood into his body to live longer, but doesn’t become a vampire. That makes zero sense! If you ingest vampire blood you are a vampire. Pure and simple.

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5) Dracula is Judas

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Yes. It turns out the reason Dracula hates silver, crosses, bibles, Christianity, etc…is because he is Judas.

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Why would God turn him into a vampire? Why would God create a being that cannot be killed but kill his people making their souls unable to move on? That is just unbelievably dumb.

I mean if the devil was the one who did it, it would still be really dumb, but make a lil’ more sense.

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So yes it was dumb, incredibly dumb. Just stupid and horribly boring. My advice? Just skip it.

And after we finished the film, I asked my friend “What do you think of it?” Her response:

You as in the film

You as in the film

So there you go, not just me.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to I’m…a Werewolf: Teen Wolf (1985)

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For more Dracula, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more vampire films, go to I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire. I’m a Day Person: Once Bitten (1985)

For more on Judas Iscariot, go to The Arrest

For more modern remakes, go to Heroes are Not Born, They’re Created: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

For more sucky remakes, go to Every Three Thousand Years, the Stars Align. Unleashing an Army of Monsters: TMNT (2007)

For more Gerald Butler, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes